Proposition 19: Support or Oppose
The legality of marijuana has been the subject for debate and controversy for decades. With the new generation, the number of supporters of marijuana legalization has increased dramatically. In the United States, legalizing marijuana is a major concern because it is the most frequently used illegal drug. Nearly 98 million Americans over the age of 12 have tried marijuana at least once. Politicians have thought of legalizing marijuana to increase revenue by imposing taxes. At the forefront of this idea is California, which is currently the most populous state in the United States yet has the highest budget deficit of all states. Also, California has the 5th highest unemployment rates exceeding 12 percent. In 2009, the California economic crisis became severe as the state faced bankruptcy. This budget shortfall has caused the state to look for ways out. California’s way out of a huge budget deficit begins with Proposition  Proposition 19 also known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 would legalize various marijuana activities, allow local government to regulate these activities, allow for marijuana related government taxes, and authorizes various criminal and civil penalties by local government. The California ballot for Proposition 19 opened on November 2, 2010 in California, hoping to change the fate of marijuana legalization in America forever. The bill failed, but only trailed the outcome by nearly 500 votes.  Among the arguments for the passing of Proposition 19 was that legalizing marijuana in California could reduce drug-related violence, based on a study conducted by the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy. In addition some believe that it would help alleviate the drug war in Mexico. Based on the theory adopted by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy that up to 60% of Mexican drug cartels’ profits come from sales of marijuana, legalizing the drug in nearby California would drastically cut their funding. As a result, supporters of this argument believed that legalization would lead to a decrease in drug-related violent crime in Mexico. Also cited were a savings of $960 million per year in law enforcement costs, and a generation of $350 million a year in state and local tax revenues. Supporters also argued that passing the measure would result in additional benefits including tourism and spinoff industries such as cafes and paraphernalia. Based on California’s wine industry, proponents of this theory anticipated that legalizing marijuana in the state could generate up to $18 billion, including the creation of 60,000-110,000 jobs. Perhaps one of the most well-known arguments for the legalization of Marijuana is to treat conditions including pain and nausea caused by HIV/AIDS, cancer and other conditions. When presented with all the information above it’s easy to see why so many people can rationalize their decision to support Proposition 19. Increasing revenue and employment rate’s while decreasing law enforcement costs and crime, all by providing the public with a safe “wonder drug” to aid in a variety of ailments. What could be better? Unfortunately though all these claims seem viable none of them can escape scrutiny. To address Marijuana as a potential drug, scientific evidence needs to be provided to substantiate the claims. To date the evidence is not sufficient for the marijuana plant to gain FDA approval, for two main reasons. First, there have not been enough clinical trials showing that marijuana’s benefits outweigh its health risks in patients with the symptoms it is meant to treat. The FDA requires carefully conducted studies in large numbers of patients (hundreds to thousands) to accurately assess the benefits and risks of a potential medication.  Also, to be considered a legitimate medicine, a substance must have well-defined and measureable ingredients that are consistent from one unit (such as a...
References: 1. "Proposition 19 - Official Voter Information Guide". Retrieved October 16, 2010.
2. Héctor Aguilar Camín and Jorge G. Castañeda (09 2010). "California 's Prop 19, on legalizing marijuana, could end Mexico 's drug war".
The Washington Post.
3. Proposition 19 Could Change Colombia’s Drug Policy Cato Institute. By Juan Carlos Hidalgo October 26th 2010
4. McKinley, Jesse (October 27, 2009). "Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California". The New York Times (The New York Times Company).
5. Dale Gieringer, PhD (10 2009). Marijuana Legalization Could Yield California Taxpayers Over $1.2 Billion per Year.
6. Dan Werb, Greg Rowell, Gordon Guyatt, Thomas Kerr, Julio Montaner, Evan Wood (2010). Effect of Drug Law Enforcement on Drug-Related Violence: Evidence from a Scientific Review
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